The Sweetest Person I Ever Knew

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When I was a teenager, I met and fell in love with a boy named Larry. My parents forbid me to see him. Why? I don't know! Of course, I saw him any way. I met his parents and really liked them, especially his mother, Mabel. They accepted me, no questions asked.

Two years later, Larry and I got married. To marry in the state of Texas, a man must be at least 21 and a woman, 18 years old. Larry's parents had to sign for us to get marrried and they did so without qualms. The only ones in attendance were the minister, Larry, his parents, and me. I wore Mabel's navy blue silk suit that her oldest son, Robert, had made for her in Japan while he was there with the Marines. She said that I was the daughter she never had. She had 3 sons and Larry was her youngest and the first to marry.

I learned many things about marriage from Mabel and we became very close, closer every day. Mabel was a wonderful wife and mother; very religious; and never met a stranger. She would do anything for just about anybody.

She married young and her husband was quite a bit older than her. He and their children were her life. He passed away in December 1968, 2 1/2 years after Larry and I married. She never recovered from losing him.

Two years later, 30 October 1970, Larry and I had our first and only child, a little girl; Mabel's first grand daughter and she loved her dearly.

Less than a year later (September 1971), Mabel passed away. She was only 56 years old. I still miss her very much. I wish she could have seen her grand daughter grow up. But, most of all, I wish my daughter could have had her sweet grand mother's influence in her life. She was the sweetest person I have ever known!

Mabel was laid to rest in the same suit that I wore when I married her son 5 1/2 years before.

Larry and I were divorced 8 months later.

This is a tribute to Mabel Burnside by Orene (Burnside) Harris-Custer.

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